Monday, March 17, 2014

Dark Places

Dark Places
By: Gillian Flynn
Published May 5th 2009 by Crown
345 pages
Summary via

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

My Review:

I am a big fan of Gillian Flynn and am so glad I finally was able to read this book. I have to say, this was by far the darkest that I've read of hers. Mostly because the other books felt a bit far fetched, and this one felt like it could really be a real situation. In fact, I am sure this has been a real situation.

Libby seems to have some from a dysfunctional background, and then her entire family was murdered, at what we suspect to be the hands of her brother. The poor kid had no one to help her cope. She did some unbelievable things as a teenager that had everything to do with how she did or didn't deal with losing her family in such a gruesome way. 

Ben was kind of a goony kid through out the whole book, but I really had a hard time believing he'd actually been the killer. In fact, I had no clue until they announced it toward the end. As the story went on I started thinking it had to be Len the Lender. 

Backing up though, I felt really bad for Libby that she was left homeless and family-less at a young age and was so troubled that no one really could deal with her, nor did they seem to try to. I think had I been the aunt I would have put her in intense therapy for a lot of years and done everything in my power to help her. In the end, she's living alone and the only person who seems to be in her camp is the lawyer we meet in the beginning. 

I do think that her being contacted by the Kill Club did somehow help her work through things. Sick as that sounds.

The kill club: this fascinated me and creeped me out. I am sure this kind of thing goes on, but how do people become so consumed with a crime that they start a club to figure it out! 

Gillian's style of writing is so great! After I read Gone Girl, and had no clue what the next step was in every chapter, I thought I'd figured things out. I read Sharp Objects and still was shocked at all the twists and turns. So, by this book I'd decided to just read and not try to guess what was next. I wouldn't have figured it out anyway. It was dark and gruesome, but I could not put it down! She is a genius writer in that respect. You never know. No matter how much you think you get her writing style, you'll never know what's coming next.

The ending of this book did disappoint me though. I'd really thought there'd be this huge thing. What with all the build up during the entire book. We end up with a couple of pages explaining that the mother hired a hit man to kill her and leave her kids with the insurance money. That is almost too desperate. And then the killer kills one of the other siblings, not just the mom. And the 2nd daughter is killed by Ben's creepy girlfriend because she's figured out that he got the girl pregnant. That was really too much. I mean, I am sure it has happened, but what a reach! to have her killing one girl at the same time a murderer is hacking up the rest of the family and they just sit there in the room like nothing else is going on? Anyway, the ending fell flat for me. I really expected so much more. 

Alas, I really liked this book! While things could have been done differently, it kept my interest and I read it in a short amount of time. It was hard to put down! I really look forward to the movie adaptation of this book!

This was a 4 star read for me. 

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